a bit too positive for my liking.
here’s a valid (if somewhat trolling) counterpoint via the comments section:
"People are broke. They have no other choice in a lot of cases but to pimp out their stuff and hope for the best in order to supplement their continually decreasing income. It’s a sad state of affairs when this painful truth for many/most of Americans is glossed over, while the current crop of Silicon Valley start-up darlings are portrayed as social catalysts instead of what they simply are - businesses looking to make a profit."
while obviously a bit bait-y, I think the overall point is worth discussing.
-> ie, these are businesses, looking to maximize profits by exploiting weaknesses and holes in the current system, some of which will be closed when laws and regulations catch up with the sharing economy. these are not “social movements,” they just happen to fit that rhetoric.
- there’s an excess of positive rhetoric around these businesses - changing the world kind of stuff. they’re even lumped into a group - “sharing economy” companies - encouraging people to think about them as a social movement, rather than examine each of them individually/critically as the unique businesses they are
some rando things i want to know:
- what %age of Airbnb listings are from people who have always had vacation rentals or sublets vs first-time renters?
-What %age are illegal listings (that were able to exist on Airbnb while it was largely unregulated)?
- what %age of users have shifted to riding in “sharing economy” cars instead of taxis or public transport? to what extent are these companies actually creating a new market of ridesharing users, vs just moving former taxi/whatever riders to their cars?
-And just general food for thought: to what extent would this wave of companies exist or have become popular in an “up” economy? what percentage of individual participants are involved out of financial need? would they have signed up in an era when people were paid fair wages that allowed them to maintain a certain quality-of-life without supplemental income?
I actually think there are some decent businesses in this lot, but i’m also wondering about the long-term potential for others. I think about myspace, and how it was the defacto social network back in the day - but eventually, facebook usurped it. myspace became known for its poor user experience and a number of “cyberbullying” reports in the media, which i think ultimately affected its reputation to the point that people welcomed a new competitor. i wonder if there would eventually be a certain threshold for bad press that a service like airbnb could weather, before its reputation becomes one of “tonight at 10: a local man rents his 2-bedroom apartment and returned to find his belongings destroyed after a wild sex party. listen to what he has to say in our next story: an inside look at a new service that lets people rent to strangers ONLINE”
i’m also very curious about that commenter’s claim that renters with poor experiences on airbnb are being paid off to not talk to press. if they’re receiving more than damages or agreeing to sign something that says they won’t discuss this, that’s very interesting.
but no proof of that, from what i can see